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Banstead Village

Burgh Heath - The Galleon
The Banstead Image Library
Burgh Heath - The Galleon

Burgh Heath - The Galleon Circa late 1940s
The Galleon was a restaurant with an open air swimming pool and a forecourt garage. It was situated at the junction of the Reigate and Brighton Roads. Today, the swimming pool is gone and the garage is now the Shell petrol station.

It was much cheaper to swim at the Galleon than at the upmarket Sugar Bowl which was just down the road. The photograph was taken during or just after WW II as the black and white kerbstones are still intact.

It is said that when the swimming pool needed to be emptied the water was allowed to drain down the Brighton Road - something that would not be allowed in these more health and safety days.
Picture added on 13 March 2011 at 23:17
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Hullo, I was born 1932 on the St Helier Estate, close to Rose Hill. Having left Glastonbury School in the Summer of 1946,I cycled up that way a lot, and I'm PRETTY sure that BOTH the Galleon and Sugar Bowl were going concerns as I rode by on my jaunts into the countryside. I seem to recall a sort of unpainted/creosoted timber, roofed balcony affair, roughly inline with the pumps and atop or above the brick wall in the picture. I wonder if the arched wall was built to fill-in the gap left when they closed/dismantled the pool...? I wonder if it will jog older folks' memories if I describe the Galleon as having a "Wills'...

Added by Bill Mallion on 13 May 2011
Yes they were definitely both there in 1955 when I moved to Burgh Heath. I swam in both pools and think I remember the Sugar Bowl as being often full of leaves and crabapples and the Galleon having a diving board to recommend it. But I think that it was possible to swim at the Sugar Bowl early for no charge if you were prepared to put up with the debris. I think at the Galleon it was always necessary to pay. I wish I could remember more - e.g. about changing rooms etc. As a nine year old I accepted the existence of two open air swimming pools in the village but now, looking back, I wonder how common that could have been? And when did they each cease to operate?

Note from LNW - Hi Jackie, both swimming pools are mentioned in our THE HISTORY OF BANSTEAD VOLUME II as still in existance in the mid-sixties, although The Sugar Bowl had by then been renamed Il Pirata. I am sure that several of our contributors will tell us what happened next.
Added by Jackie Fearnley (nee Shreeve) on 09 May 2012
I remember both pools very well. I learnt to swim on the end of a long bamboo pole at the Sugar Bowl. Yes, the water was sometimes home to various foreign bits but the water always seemed clear-looking. The changing rooms (of wood) were to the rear and were slightly primitive.

Perhaps one could describe the clientele at the Sugar Bowl, in those days, as being slightly 'reserved' whereas those frequenting the Galleon were definitely more sociable, more fun-loving and there for the swimming, diving, and especially for the superb water slide. Tea could be had at both pools but at the Sugar Bowl the 'thing' was to have tea sitting on the grass lawn, beyond the rose trellis, at the end of the pool. Oh, of course, I must mention that tea could be taken on the balcony of the Galleon overlooking the pool on two or three sides. A bit more trendy than the SB. Those were the days – and I, for one, am completely aware of how fortunate we were to be living then.

I am sorry to say that I can't tell anything about the demise of both pools except to say that it was perhaps inevitable that at least one would have to go, being in such close proximity to the other.

Added by Michael Shackel on 09 May 2012
The swimming pool changing rooms at the Sugar Bowl were poolside cubicles where you left your clothes whilst swimming instead of having to hand them in to be stored for you. Hardly a world shattering historical insight, but might bring back a few memories for Jackie.
Added by Philip Smith on 09 May 2012
I spent many happy hours in the Galleon pool in the 50s, with the fountain at the shallow end, diving board, and slide, up top the little kiosk for ice creams etc. We would sunbathe for hours on the balcony. Such happy days.
Added by David Sheath on 29 May 2012
Hullo,like Bill Mallion I was born on the St.Helier estate in 1936. From very young I was taken around swimming pools by my older sister [I had learnt to swim in the river Wandle at the bottom of Poulters park - my parents never knew]. Lidos I remember going to were Purley Way, Garret Lane Wandsworth, Tooting Bec, upper deck Hampton Court, Surbiton lagoon, Brockwell park, Sugar Bowl and the Galleon. Later when I was 16 and got a 197 Francis-Barnet I visited the seafront pool at the end of Madeira Drive Brighton regularly,camping at the nearby sheepcote valley campsite. My favourites were Surbiton lagoon and the Galleon, happy simple days, no rain and the sun always shone!

Note from LNW: Thanks for your memories David. I have to tell you that a '197 Francis-Barnet' has me completely stumped. Was this some type of haircut, or maybe a vehicle of some sort?
Added by David Pope on 26 October 2012
A francis barnett was a motor bike.
Added by Brian Warburton on 02 November 2012
Having spent both my younger and now senior years living in Nork, the Burgh Heath swimming pools are well fondly remembered. As is the open air pool at West Hill in Epsom, next to the piggery. A very nice aroma greeted you most visits, but it did have a slide which the pools at Burgh Heath did not have. Actually never went to the Sugar Bowl as it was always higher priced than the Galleon; it was considered a bit posh then.
Is it me? Were summers much warmer in those days or were we just more hardy to open pool water.
One side wall of the Galleon still remains today. It is behind and forms part of the car wash at the Shell garage, but is no longer blue.
Just for the record, I also owned a Francis Barnet, my first motor-bike.
Added by Neil Munro-Thomson on 27 March 2013
I like the picture evoked by David of a swimming pool tourism. I think in those days we were much more prepared to make efforts to go exploring and to make the most of whatever our environment had to offer. I am not saying this in the spirit of the old days being better - just different.
Added by Jackie Fearnley on 28 March 2013
I remember the West Hill pool well, it also had a small covered area with a juke box and coffee bar. A very well sprung floor as I recall, excellent for jiving!! I was back in Epsom a few weeks ago and disappointed to be told that the West Hill pool was gone. I lived in Nork from 1950 until 1982 when I moved to South Wales. I think I remember Neil, a previous contributor to this page, if it is the same person he lived next door but one to me.

Added by Liz Williams on 30 April 2013
Galleon and sugar bowl were both in place until 1960 at least. I began my teaching career at Kingswood primary getting the 80 bus from Sutton where I lived but stopping in summer for a swim. My goodness the Galleon was cold and echoey. Do you all remember the pool on Box Hill opposite the Wimpey Bar and now Smith and Western?
Added by Lesly Batcheler on 14 July 2013
Does anyone have any recollections of the Old Forge at Burgh Heath? We have had an enquiry as follows:

We live at the Old Forge in Burgh Heath, Brighton Road, and we cannot find any history on our property. Our house is behind the Burgh Heath parade of shops, down the side of a property named Simba.

Our house was previously called the Wooden Cottage and then April Cottage.

We have a Forge in our garden (which would have lead straight on to the Brighton road) and stables.

We would love to know how old these buildings are and if anyone has any further information on them.

If you could help we would be so very grateful.

Best Wishes

Laura and Anthony Lamb

Added by Webmaster@bansteadhistory,com on 30 August 2015
Why not try asking at the forge in Walton and the forge in Betchworth. Maybe some one there would know something. I have been here for nearly 50'years but cannot remember anything to help you.
Added by Lesly batcheler on 30 August 2015

Hello Laura and Anthony, this is a message from Christine Kent, a professional genealogist and member of the Banstead History Research Group.

So far I have found that from the years 1918-1935 the owners are registered on the electoral records as Archibald Donald Campbell and Catherine Alice Campbell. During these years it was known as Wooden House.

There is also a website called www.britainfromabove.org.uk which may be of interest to Laura and Anthony as it has a few arial photos of Burgh Heath taken in 1928.

If you sign in and register on the site it allows you to zoom in on the images so they maybe able to identify their property.

the 1911 census return there was an Edward Mayott Johnson living at Wood Lodge, Brighton Road, Burgh Heath and his profession is given as Manufacturer of Lead and it’s products.

Added by Lewis N Wood on 29 October 2015
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